The stars and pros stepped out of their comfort zones this week, tackling unfamiliar dance styles with varying results. Last week’s twist was that the couples got to assign seldom-seen or new-to-the-show dance styles to their competitors. Watching the rehearsal footage, it was clear that some of the pros were more stressed than others when it came to choreography.
Louis and Sabrina had no trouble embracing their disco theme, and lit up the floor with a dance that was vibrant, fun, and full of flashy lifts. Ditto for Derek and Shawn, who scored three 10s for their perfect mambo. I mean, those two are scary good.
The biggest surprise of the night came from Peta and Gilles, who scored the first 10s of the season with their Bollywood style routine to “Jai Ho” from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. Later, a slip and a fall threw Karina for a loop during her hip-hop number with Apolo. They quickly got back on track, but Karina burst into tears at the end of the dance, thinking she’d let her partner down.
Guest judge Paula Abdul brought her own special brand of unpredictability to the night’s proceedings, including a pretty good impression of Bruno Tonioli.
Dance of the Night: Kelly and Val’s contemporary dance to Coldplay’s “Fix You.” First of all, try dancing barefoot with a broken toe. Next, try to execute a challenging routine in a style you’ve never done before. The dance was not perfect, but the couple delivered a moving, powerful, and beautiful performance that spoke volumes about being vulnerable, and also supporting each other. Len said Kelly was “the biggest revelation” for him this season, and Carrie Ann praised her for being truly in touch with her raw emotion, adding, “it was stunning.” After last night, I really want Val to give Kelly the final rose.
One to watch: Melissa Rycroft. She makes every dance look elegant and effortless, and she reminds me of a young Mary Tyler Moore. Teamed up with her former partner Tony Dovolani, she’s been a strong contender out of the gate this season, consistently landing near the top of the leader board. I expect to see a “breakout” performance from her very soon.
Who’s in trouble: The sad reality is, no one is safe. Viewers vote to keep their favorites, regardless of how well they dance. However, since some couples made mistakes last night, their fans may have been more motivated to “save” them by picking up the phone. We’ll find out soon enough.
Best moment: Before receiving her scores, Kelly Monaco made a lovely statement about her experiences on DWTS: “This show has absolutely nothing to do with dancing. It’s about the journey, the friendships, the relationships that you make, finding self- confidence and inner worth, and trusting the people that you’re with.”
Quotable quote: “She started off like Debbie Reynolds in Singing in the Rain, and ended up like Shelley Winters in the Poseidon Adventure.” -Bruno, on Kirstie’s Charleston.
Gilles & Peta 39.5 (tie)
Shawn & Derek 39.5 (tie)
Kelly & Val 37.5
Melissa & Tony 37
Emmitt & Cheryl 36
Sabrina & Louis 35.5
Apolo & Karina 34.5
Bristol & Mark 32
Kirstie & Maks 30